The cosiest nights out this winter: from Thames-side igloos to a Scandi-inspired Narnia

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Georgie Lane-Godfrey
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From ski lodges to Nordic tipis, snuggle up this Christmas at the UK’s ultimate festive pop-ups

Words: Georgie Lane-Godfrey

Photography: Sam Harris, Graham Turner

  • Coppa Club’s Igloos, London

    Get a taste of the outdoors and still have that cosy festive feeling at one of Coppa Club’s eight Thames-side igloos. Furnished like Scandinavian sitting rooms, they come complete with snuggly sheepskin blankets, but still let you admire the London skyline. They’re available on a first-come first-served basis so turn up early to enjoy the view.

    Try The Maple Old Fashioned (£7.95), a classic twist on your usual warming whisky cocktail made with maple syrup and hazelnut.

    3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, EC3R;

  • Après-Ski Bar, Bath

    If your idea of Christmas involves bunking down somewhere cute, kitsch and straight out of the Austrian mountains, then look no further than Abbey Hotel’s Après-Ski Bar. With its wood-panelled walls, woolly blankets and alpine interiors, it’s got everything you need to make it feel like you’ve stepped straight into a cosy chalet – except maybe the snow. Look out for their lunchtime fondue parties (£20 per person) where you can bring your mates together to gorge on gooey cheese, bread, salad and a pudding, all washed down with a glass of either mulled wine or cider. Tasty.

    Try The Nursery Run (£7.50), a cocktail made with prosecco, white peach purée, cinnamon, cloves and ginger syrup – it’s like Christmas in a glass.

    North Parade, BA1; until 8 January 2017;

  • Tales of Woodlandia, Brighton

    Step into Woodlandia and you’ll immediately feel like you’ve been transported to Narnia. Thanks to multi-media digital installations, this bar lets you watch the softly falling snowflakes, spot shy snow foxes and even smell the scents of the forest in the air as you sip festive cocktails from the comfort of your Scandi-inspired seat. Magical.

    Try One of the specially curated immersive events inspired by Woodlandia’s frosty outdoor setting, such as digital forest yoga, wild winter wreath workshops and an urban foraging cocktail session.

    Patterns, 10 Marine Parade, BN2; until February 2017;

  • The Cresta Bar, London

    Named after one of the most famous toboggan runs in glitzy St Moritz, The Cresta Bar channels the local clubhouse where people come to fortify themselves after tackling the treacherous Cresta Run. While it might not be so perilous to get to this bar, what’s on offer is still just as fortifying. Michelin-starred chef Shay Cooper’s Swiss-inspired canapés, such as the tartiflette, roesti potato and mustard macaroon with emmental cheese and cured ham, give an authentic taste of the Alps, while the Hot Winter Magic Punch (£15), won’t fail to transport you straight onto the slopes.

    Try Snapping a selfie to add to the dedicated wall of photos and take your place on the Cresta Run’s hall of fame.

    The Goring, 15 Beeston Place, SW1W; 28 November 2016 until 28 February 2017;

  • Thor’s Tipi Bar, Leeds

    With pop-ups also in York and Sheffield, Thor’s Nordic winter tipis have proven popular for a reason. Playing on Yorkshire’s Viking heritage (you know, the original hygge masters) the tipis are festooned with festive fairy lights while wooden benches covered in warm furs sit around a fire pit. Bag a seat and let that cosy Christmas vibe take over.

    Try Tackling Thor’s Feast, a steak burger with smoked bacon, melted cheese and Jack Daniel’s glazed onions – the ultimate comfort food.

    Victoria Gardens, The Headrow, LS1; until 31 December 2016;

  • Forza Winter, London

    One for foodies, Forza Win’s communal dining is great for festive get togethers. Gather a group of friends, book into one of their winter sessions and get ready for the ultimate Italian seasonal feast [£35]. On the menu is mouth-watering wild-mushroom papardelle, short ribs with juniper and globe artichoke with parmesan butter, and there are vegan options as well. Pudding and a mug of steaming hot booze are also included, so all you need to do is eat, drink and be merry.

    Try The bergamot panna cotta, which has a fantastically festive orange flavour.

    133 Copeland Road, SE15; until 23 December;

  • Skye Halla, London

    It may take five flights of stairs to get up to the Queen of Hoxton’s winter wigwam but trust us, it’s worth the effort. Filled with fire pits, driftwood sculptures, a long boat bar and plenty of drinking horns, Skye Halla is every inch the Viking stronghold – perfect if you’re looking for a more traditional take on hygge. Don’t miss the cocktails such as Freya’s Nettle Love Elixir (£7.90), made with elderflower liqueur, lemon, stinging nettle-infused gin and honey. Prefer something ale based? Try Gullveig’s Grog (£8) – a mix of whisky, mead, elderflower liqueur and pale ale that’s fit for any warrior queen.

    Try One of the Viking-themed events taking place throughout the winter, such as braiding workshops and storytelling sessions.

    Queen of Hoxton, 1 Curtain Road, EC2A; until April 2017;

  • Hadrian’s Tipi, Newcastle

    One of the more original pop-ups this year is the Roman-themed Hadrian’s Tipi. Inside there’s a handmade firepit around which you can sip Roman’s Ruin lager or locally brewed pale ale All Ale Caesar (both £3.99) while you cosy up under the furry blankets. Meanwhile on the menu are organic sausages and artisan pizzas as well as doughnuts served with cinnamon sugar and ganache dipping sauce from the dedicated doughnut kitchen for a healthy helping of comforting carbs.

    Try The Valiant Venison sausage (£5) made by a local butcher in Alnwick.

    Central Station, Neville Street, NE1; until 1 January 2017;

  • Rooftop Winter Cinema, London

    Think outdoor cinema is just for the summer? Think again. Bag yourself a hot water bottle and nestle down under a swish Moncler blanket in one of the private chalet-inspired cabins (£65 per person) to watch one of the two Christmas classics – Miracle On 34th Street or Santa Claus The Movie – being screened on The Berkeley’s rooftop this winter. Tickets include festive treats meaning you get to gorge on homemade hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies. Well, it is the season to over-indulge after all…

    Try To leave enough time to enjoy the view – The Berkeley’s rooftop is the perfect height for appreciating the capital’s skyline when it’s lit up at night.

    The Berkeley, Wilton Road, SW1X; until 26 December;

  • Winter at Dalloway Terrace, London

    Giving you all the beauty of the great outdoors without the chill, Dalloway Terrace has transformed itself for winter with the help of florist Nikki Tibbles. Under her snow-dusted enchanted forest of flowers, you can snuggle up with a hot water bottle and a complimentary shot of Alpine liqueur Génépi to help keep out the cold.

    Try A hot chocolate cocktail (£11.50) designed by master chocolatier Maison Pierre Marcolini, made with spiced rum, port and garnished with a spiced rum marshmallow on a skewer.

    6-22 Great Russell Street, WC1B; until 31 January;

  • The Lodge, London

    Is there anything more comforting than dipping food in melted cheese? We don’t think so, which is why pop-up king Jimmy Garcia’s Verbier-themed lodge in Clapham is on our hygge hit-list. As well as Swiss cheese fondue (£22), The Lodge also serves fresher small plates (beetroot, orange and hazelnuts, anyone?) to help stave off the usual cheese coma. Save room for dessert if you can – the spiced treacle tart with plum ice-cream (£7) is decadent.

    Try The wild boar and apple sausages (£4) for a gourmet twist on your usual cheese-dipping delicacies.

    409 Clapham Road, SW9; until 28 February 2017;

  • Pergola on the Roof Winter, London

    A former BBC staff car park at the top of Television Centre might not seem like the most obvious place to find the dose of Christmas magic you’re looking for, but Pergola on the Roof’s rustic winter pop-up is the perfect place to escape into the Scandi wilderness over the festive season. Under the sheltering canopy of 18ft evergreen spruce trees in a clear-walled dome, you’ll find food from some of the capital’s most popular street food restaurants such as burger maestros Patty & Bun and gourmet kebab experts Le Bab. Seek out the authentic Danish deliciousness on offer from Snaps & Rye for a proper dose of hygge.

    Try A Great Dane hotdog by Snaps & Rye (£7) made with Danish malt beer rarebit mix, Danish cheese, bloody Viking ketchup in a rye bun and topped with crispy onions.

    Television Centre, Wood Lane, W12; until 23 December;

  • The Dome, Manchester

    Making the most of the panoramic views across the waterfront is this Narnia-themed pop-up in Salford Quays. While the cocktail menu features modern festive twists on the classics, the food is simple but wholesome – think a warming mug of soup (£3) or a plate of hearty choucroute (£4), which includes sauerkraut, smoked pork belly, shredded ham hock, cured sausage and new potatoes. Seriously satisfying.

    Try A Chocolate White Russian (£7.50), made with Baileys Choco Luxe, for a grown-up take on hot chocolate.

    MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, M50; until 31 December 2016;


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Georgie Lane-Godfrey

Georgie Lane-Godfrey is a freelance travel and features writer. In the name of journalism she has ridden Mustangs in Nevada, partied in Ibiza with MIC cast members and interviewed women on the frontline of feminism. She likes horses and cheap chocolate.